2007 was a record year. you won't likely see it again for a while. expect it to drop near 2005 levels again soon. USC will likely level to around 20%, UCLA to around 25%, and GW back down to 25%. the top 10 will probably stay the same. the rest of the Tier 1 should be around 15-20%
i would also take GULC and GW's percentages with a grain of salt. a lot of people in those are IP...particularly GW
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Data and anecdotal evidence certainly don't show USC as being #2 behind UCLA in the LA market. Maybe if you wanted to leave SoCal, but USC puts you at no disadvantage to UCLA for BigLaw in LA, #s suggest a slight advantage for SC at this point, and I'd sure love to have the Trojan Network rather than Bruin alums if I were a borderline hire at a big firm.
I meant #2 in L.A. in a purely qualitative sense as an academic institution. As much as I love 'SC and am a proud Trojan, I'm also objective enough to recognize that UCLA is a great school, and the objective quality of the legal education that you will receive at UCLA is probably a tad higher than at 'SC.
As far as placement, UCLA probably places a tiiiiiiiny bit further down into the class in BigLaw (mostly because of the national boost that it receives compared to USC). 25% at UCLA and 20% at USC sounds about right, although I would guess that fluctuates from year to year, and some years it might even be closer.
WITHIN SoCal proper, however, I agree - I would honestly rather search for a job as a USC Law grad than a UCLA Law grad, especially because I'd be double USC at that point. USC alumni connection >>>> UCLA connection, and I have no doubt that that shows up in the regional placement for the two schools.
Hell, I wouldn't even be surprised if USC>UCLA in placement within the greater Los Angeles area itself.
All of these things can and should be considered when looking at the two schools. It's not a simple case of "UCLA>UCLA durrr" like many people make it out to be, which is impressive on USC's part because as I said, I think it's pretty clear that UCLA is objectively the "better" law school.